Idea of special tag for Nagas irks Gogoi

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Guwahati, July 22: Former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi on Saturday said the suggestion to grant special status to the Naga people residing in the states bordering Nagaland under the 2015 Naga framework agreement would violate the territorial rights of Assam.
Gogoi, who was recently inducted in the reconstituted Congress Working Committee, was reacting to a report on internal security submitted by the parliamentary standing committee on home affairs tabled on Thursday.
The report dwelt on the progress made on the negotiations front as shared with them by R.N. Ravi, the Centre’s interlocutor for the Naga peace process.
The report, submitted by the parliamentary committee, said, “The Centre contemplated the details of power- sharing with the Nagaland government and other stakeholders. The interlocutor apprised the committee about the broad status of the negotiations and submitted that the negotiations were proceeding towards a situation where boundaries of any state would neither be changed nor altered. Initially, the Nagas had stuck to the idea of unification of the Naga-inhabited areas, resolutely maintaining their stand of no integration, no solution. However, they have now reached a common understanding with the government that boundaries of the states will not be touched. Instead, some special arrangement would be made for the Nagas, wherever they are. The negotiations were going on over 19 issues sensitive to both the government and the Nagas, and attempts are being made to reach a common understanding.”
Gogoi said the Centre had said no neighbouring state of Nagaland would lose land but on the other hand, it plans to confer special status to the Naga people residing in states bordering Nagaland.
“It means the state government’s power over the Naga- inhabited areas will be curtailed. It is not fair. If there is any need for welfare of Naga people residing on the land of Assam, then the Assam government will take the initiative for their welfare. No one should bypass the territorial rights of a state,” he said.
Criticising the Centre, Gogoi said, “It is an initiative to curtail the power of the state government over the Naga-inhabited areas. Without territorial power, a land has no value for a state.”
He also slammed Union home minister Rajnath Singh over his statement in Parliament on Friday on the Naga framework agreement.
“In Parliament, Rajnath Singh said the territory Nagaland’s neighbouring states will not be affected with implementation of the Naga framework agreement. But what will we do if the state has no power upon the people residing on its own land? If anyone needs special status or reservation, the respective state government should take such decision, not any other state,” Gogoi said. (TTNE)